This study started from a hypothesis that these patronage assumed a form of a kind of social system and played a decisive role to the development of literary art and learning in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Namely, we came to confirm the fact that the ...
This study started from a hypothesis that these patronage assumed a form of a kind of social system and played a decisive role to the development of literary art and learning in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Namely, we came to confirm the fact that the constituent elements which played as an important dynamic force of art and literature in the Ming and Qing dynasties, the three literary genres, namely, drama, painting and garden and the social and literary gathering of literati and publication which might be the environmental elements for the occurrence and flourish of these literary activities had received for a long time the patronage of commercial capital. We also came to confirm that the interplay of all of them showed a stable pattern.
The study designated the interplay as the patronage system in the region of Jiangnan of Ming and Qing dynasties and explained the pattern of cultural patronage in the Ming and Qing dynasties, the patronage system and its relationship with the production of art and literature, the emergence of businessmen in the late Ming and the change of patronage system brought by the market economy, and the changing aspects of the environment of production of art and literature as below:
First, the cultural patronage in the Jiangnan region of Ming and Qing dynasties showed much more diverse and complicated patronage patterns than that of the nobilities and Catholic church in the Renaissance in Europe. Namely, the patronage in China assumed the pattern that the same patron at the same place supported many genres simultaneously. For example, the patronage of the owner of a garden reached in various parts such as the management of garden, the collection of books, the collection and connoisseurship of calligraphy and painting, the creation of poetry and painting, the activity of family theatrical troupes, the social and literary gathering of literati. Furthermore, the patronage aspects combining the creator, the circulator and the consumer might be a very unique example. Therefore, the study has tried to confirm the patronage system uniquely showing in China, especially, the nature of the cultural power played by the literati group.
Second, we has sought to find the patronage system and its relationship with art and literature. Even though it is true that there was some formal relation between master and servant in between the patron and the recipients, in practice, reciprocity and sometimes tension and conflict might be happened. The reason why cooperation or conflict existed is because the patronage relation was that of economic relation which guaranteed the livelihood of artist and literary man and at the same time that of psychological relation which influenced the social relation and spiritual world between the patron and the recipient. The study has considered the fact that what is the influence of the patronage system on the social relation and the psychological condition of artist and literary man and how the benefit and taste of patron reflect.
Thirdly, we have examined the emergence of businessmen in late Ming, the change of patronage system the market economy brought, and the resultant changing aspect of production environment of art and literature. The commercialization in the fields of art and literature was accelerated and the literary publication was active in the Jiangnan area, which phenomenon was comparabe to the Renaissance in Europe in the seventeenth-century. The new form of patron came to emerge as the result and we confirmed that they were the very consumer-patron.